Many people transfer to the reserves from active duty, but you can also support the National Guard or reserves without prior military experience – which can be an excellent way to gain a security clearance. Most components have similar requirements, obligations, or state / federal benefits.

Joining the reserves is a great way to continue service and comprises a large portion of the cleared workforce. But often times, reservists or serving in the guard lumps you into the so called “veteran” pool, when there are distinct differences in benefits reservists prefer when evaluating companies and job offers.


Joining the military reserves is a huge commitment, schedule wise. After the initial training and getting settled in a permanent unit, reservists are required to do drill one weekend per month, plus a two-week yearly training. A reservist’s PTO could be sucked dry every year without accounting for vacation or sick leave, depending on their weekly schedule.

And that’s why military friendly employers pay reservists or offer some sort of PTO in addition to the standard package for non-military employees.

Some companies base their pay on duration and type of military leave (fully paid, partially paid, unpaid). Other organizations may create disqualifiers for additional pay based on type of orders (training vs. deployment), consider the allowances people gain from the reserves as a part of military pay, or establish a minimum employment timeframe before the reservist is eligible for reserve pay from the company.

If you consider yourself a reservist friendly employer, recruitment teams should be highlighting this on their website / career pages, on social media, and onsite at drill units where they may be in close proximity to government sites they work at.

If you ask HR about these types of benefits and your company either doesn’t have them – or they are seriously lacking, it’s time to call a meeting with leadership to discuss how this may be affecting your retention numbers in this industry.

In addition to training, reservists may be activated to full-time status. That could be 30 days in a unit near where you live or up to a year supporting a mission outside of the US. Having these benefits are critical. With nearly 190,000 Army reserve soldiers and 11,000 civilians, 56,254 Navy officers and enlisted personnel (as of June 2023), and 35,501 reserve Marine personnel (as of 2020), you could be missing out on reaching a large portion of the cleared candidate pool.



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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸